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District 72 Update

February 11, 2016
By State Rep. Dean Fisher - R-Garwin , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

Newsletter for Thursday,

February 4, 2016

Week 4 of the session is complete. It has been a short week, as we did not convene on Monday so that legislators could participate in their Caucuses, and Tuesday most committee meetings were cancelled due to the snow that morning which prevented many legislators from traveling to Des Moines. That made Wednesday and Thursday all the busier as we all keep a wary eye the first "funnel date" looming on February 18. This is when we must have our individual bills through committee to keep them alive.

Article Photos

State Rep. Dean Fisher

I've had the pleasure of hosting several area pastors as Pastor of the Day in the House, each giving the opening prayer in the House Chamber. They are Rev. Mike Maddick of Trinity Lutheran Church in State Center, Rev. Kerry Jech of New Hope Christian Church in Marshalltown, and Rev. Brian Oliver of Christ United Methodist Church in Toledo.


Rep. Pat Grassley is our newly appointed chair of the full Appropriations committee. One of Rep. Grassley's initiatives is to conduct a full review of what are known as "Standing Appropriations", appropriations that are part of the Iowa code instead of the "Session Code" that must be passed each year. These are appropriations that past legislatures have deemed worthy of carrying over annually. Things change over time, so Rep. Grassley has decided to have his vice chair, Rep. Ken Rizer, chair a subcommittee to review all of these items and recommend what changes need to be made with an eye towards reducing the taxpayer burden. Their recommendations will be considered when the Standing Appropriations bill is brought forward later in the session.

Meskwaki Jurisdiction Bill

One of the issues before us this session is whether or not to transfer the jurisdiction for minor crimes on the Settlement from the state back to the federal government. The current arrangement is unique to the Meskwaki (Sac & Fox of the Mississippi) as a result of a federal law passed in 1948 granting the jurisdiction to the state of Iowa. The tribal leadership has been pressing for this change for some time, asking to be treated like most other tribes across the nation instead of being singled out for a unique status.

This change would only apply to minor crimes committed by Native Indians on Settlement grounds. This bill would repeal Iowa law governing jurisdiction only after the US Congress repeals the 1948 law and the president signs that repeal. This bill has passed the Iowa Senate and is currently being reviewed by a Judiciary subcommittee of three in the House.

I am not on the Judiciary committee, but I am still working closely with the legislators on this committee to work through the many questions that I and others have raised about this change.

My Bills

On Thursday my bill to clarify the court's responsibilities regarding the Safe At Home program passed the Public Safety committee unanimously. It is now eligible for the full House to consider.

Other News

Sen. Grassley will hold a Town Hall meeting in Tama county on Tuesday, February 16 at 3:30 to 4:30 PM at the Tama Civic Center, 301 Siegel St., Tama.

The Marshalltown Chamber of Commerce has three legislative forums scheduled for noon at the Fisher Community Center in Marshalltown. The dates are February 5, March 11, April 8. Please plan on joining us and come prepared to ask questions.

I would love to have you come down to the Capitol any Monday through Thursday to visit, discuss your concerns with me, and take a tour of this beautiful building. It is one of Iowa's treasures. We can even arrange a tour for you up to the capitol cupola on top of the dome!

As always, please feel free to contact me at or 641-750-3594.



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